From the Ground Up, Making Time

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Use your pole swing to give rhythm to your turns.

Your pole is, in essence, an extension of your arm and a third point of contact with the snow. It steadies you as you leave the security of one set of edges (A), float momentarily on a flat ski (B), and move into the security of your new edges (C). Newcomers and Aspiring Carvers can plant the pole first (A), then change edges (C).

As you gain confidence, alter your timing. Touch your pole to the snow and change edges more or less at the same time. While you're on your uphill edges, swing the pole forward with your wrist (A). Roll your knees and hips across the skis as the pole makes contact (B). Once you're on your downhill edges (C), keep your hands where you can see them, and start to swing your other pole.

In carved turns, the pole plant becomes a tap and the edge change happens before the pole reaches the snow. Swing your pole forward (A) as you cross over the skis. Feel as though you're moving your center and upper body toward the spot where your pole will meet the snow (B). The pole will touch following the edge change as your feet drift out from under you, and your legs lengthen. (C).